Jack & Benny’s Barnstormer Diner (Facebook / @jackbennysdiner)
2160 W. Case Rd. (map it!)
Dublin, OH 43017
Open Mon-Fr, 7a-3p; Sat & Sun, 8a-3p
Accepts cash & debit/credit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Visited: Friday, July 10, 2015 at 8:30 a.m. (and many other times)
I’ve long been a fan of Jack & Benny’s. The original campus-area diner is close to my home, and as a dutiful OSU grad I’ve consumed my share of Gutbusters and hot diner coffee over the years. For many people, the challenge of Jack & Benny’s is getting a seat on weekends, especially during football game days, when loyal Ohio State fans pre-game their day with a Buckeye-themed breakfast.
Operating on the kind-of down low over the past 1.5 years is a second location for Jack & Benny’s. I regularly take guests on my Columbus Food Adventures breakfast tour here, and it’s always a blast introducing them to the new location. If you love Jack & Benny’s but don’t get to campus often, you’re in luck. The second Jack & Benny’s – titled the Jack & Benny’s Barnstormer Diner – has the exact same hours and exact same menu.
The big difference: it’s in an airport. Yes, Jack & Benny’s Barnstormer Diner took the place of previous restaurants like The Barnstormer or the Barnstormer Grill. Owners Geno and Hilda Garcia were invited by the folks at the OSU Don Scott Airport to take over the eatery. It’s perfectly fitting because Geno studied aviation at Ohio State. While the campus diner is covered with OSU sports memorabilia, the Barnstormer is hung with photos of aviation and space travel.
The restaurant space itself is at the back of one of the hangars. Some days the door is open and you can see the planes sitting there. You usually can’t sit there, unless you’re on a certain breakfast tour with a certain someone…
Anyone who’s been to Jack & Benny’s before will find all the familiar menu items there. For those who are new to it, be prepared to see a big menu than leans towards lots of breakfast. The pancakes are favorites, there’s a whole page dedicated the omelets, there are some spicier specialties, and for the hungriest, there are the busters.
Jack & Benny’s does a diner breakfast and does it really well. Nothing fancy, but all executed properly. This goes for the basics like eggs, hash browns, toast, and sausage.
Or to fancier stuff like the Eggs Benny with a somewhat light hollandaise.
My personal favorite is the Gutbuster. It’s the all-inclusive meal that layers hash browns, bacon, ham, an egg, a potato pancake, sausage, and cheese. Then covers it all with a great peppery gravy.
It’s a big meal, but I will say that – in a good way – the Gutbuster has not lived up to its name for me. Delicious and filling? Yes. Gutbusting? No. (If that’s not enough for you, there’s also the James “Buster” Douglas which doubles the meat.)
Geno and Hilda know how to cater to kids as well. The pancakes are even pressed with an airplane pattern!
One of the other house specialties is the huevos rancheros. It’s a giant bed of onions, peppers, tomatoes, and beans with a surprisingly spicy kick, plus a couple eggs and toast.
For families or aviation aficionados or just fans of diners, the Barnstormer Diner is an absolute must. You’ll get to enjoy good food on the airport property, and as a special bonus, you can climb the old control tower (part of the terminal building) and watch planes coming and going!